Intensive care units (ICUs) are complex environments where rapid access to clinical information is crucial. Clinical information technologies (CITs) in ICUs include electronic medical records, computerized provider order entry, clinical decision support systems, picture archiving and communication systems. In this study, the researchers constructed a tool for evaluating hospital information systems based on automation and usability. Automation represents the degree to which clinical information processes in the ICU are computerized. Usability denotes the degree to which the information system is effective, easy to use and well supported.
A total of 19 medical directors of ICU's in Michigan hospitals completed the Clinical Information Technology Assessment Tool to assess the effect of a quality improvement intervention designed to prevent catheter-related infections in a patient's bloodstream. The survey evaluated the hospitals' ICU information systems. The researchers found that the presence of more sophisticated information systems was associated with greater reductions in the bloodstream infection.